Rep. Adriano Espaillat & Members of the CHC Request Meeting with Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

June 7, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting a meeting following last month’s exchange regarding undocumented students at schools around the nation.

During her testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Espaillat had the opportunity to ask Secretary DeVos about widespread fear stemming from reported instances in which undocumented students or their guardians have been detained near schools or even reported by teachers or school administrators to law enforcement officials, leading to potential deportation. Members are calling on Secretary DeVos to correct her testimony and affirm the Department of Education’s mission to uphold the 1982 Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe which established that all students, regardless of their immigration status or the status of their parents, have a right to a public K-12 education and strengthen the Federal commitment to assuring access to equal education opportunity for all individuals.

CHC members highlighted the important role the Department of Education plays in the lives of those they represent and the need to protect the civil rights of all students, foster a safe and inclusive campus environment, and ensure equitable access to a high-quality education.

“We write to extend an invitation to have you meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) before Congress departs for the August District Work Period. A meeting with CHC members will give you the opportunity to provide an update from the Department, listen to critical feedback from our members, and establish a much-needed dialogue on the problems currently facing our nation’s public education system,” the Members wrote.

“Within the past year, the CHC has had the opportunity to meet with other Trump Administration officials, including Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and General John Kelly, both in his former capacity as Secretary of Homeland Security and current position as White House Chief of Staff. The CHC has reached out to several cabinet secretaries, and we welcome and encourage their participation,” they continued.

They closed by saying: “This will provide you with the opportunity to correct and clarify the department’s ongoing adherence to Plyler v. Doe, which affirms the constitutional right of all children to a public K-12 education, regardless of a child’s or a child’s parent’s immigration status. Given that the Hispanic community has been disproportionately impacted by these statements, it is critical that we meet with you to discuss how it impacts the children and families we represent.  ”

In addition to Reps. Serrano, Grijalva and CHC Chair Lujan Grisham the following members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus signed the letter:  First Vice Chair Joaquin Castro (TX-20); Second Vice Chair Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07); Whip Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31); and Freshman Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13).

The official letter can be found here.

 

TEXT OF LETTER

June 6, 2018

The Honorable Betsy DeVos

Secretary

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20202

 

Dear Secretary DeVos:

 

We write to extend an invitation to have you meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) before Congress departs for the August District Work Period. A meeting with CHC members will give you the opportunity to provide an update from the Department, listen to critical feedback from our members, and establish a much-needed dialogue on the problems currently facing our nation’s public education system.

Within the past year, the CHC has had the opportunity to meet with other Trump Administration officials, including Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and General John Kelly, both in his former capacity as Secretary of Homeland Security and current position as White House Chief of Staff. The CHC has reached out to several cabinet secretaries, and we welcome and encourage their participation.

The Department of Education plays a vital role in the lives of the communities we represent, from administering disaster recovery aid in Puerto Rico and protecting the civil rights of all students, to fostering safe and inclusive campus environments and ensuring equitable access to a high-quality education. We wish to discuss these items with you as well as the many actions the department has taken since you became secretary nearly 16 months ago. Moreover, your recent comments on undocumented students at an Education and Workforce Committee hearing have raised concerns among our members. This will provide you with the opportunity to correct and clarify the department’s ongoing adherence to Plyler v. Doe, which affirms the constitutional right of all children to a public K-12 education, regardless of a child’s or a child’s parent’s immigration status. Given that the Hispanic community has been disproportionately impacted by these statements, it is critical that we meet with you to discuss how it impacts the children and families we represent. 

Thank you for your full consideration of this request, and we look forward to having you join us to discuss the many important issues facing our education system and the impact it has on our community. To arrange the details of a meeting, your staff may contact CHC Executive Director, Alma Acosta, at Alma.Acosta@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-1164.

Sincerely,

 

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https://congressionalhispaniccaucus-lujangrisham.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/chc-requests-meeting-with-department-of-education-secretary-betsy-devos

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.